One of the primary benefits of the Transportation bill (Act 89) passed by Harrisburg last year is the $80Million Multimodal Fund. On April 7th, a PennDOT press release announced that it was opening the fund for applications.
"PennDOT can make available $20 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15 to distribute to successful applicants. Eligible projects can cost between $100,000 and $3 million and they require a 30 percent match from local sources.
PennDOT will evaluate the applications and make selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency, and operational sustainability.
Besides the $20 million in unrestricted funds to be distributed, PennDOT may award grants from the dedicated budget categories in the Multimodal fund for aviation, rail freight, ports and bicycle-pedestrian projects.
The application period started today and closes on June 30."
Act 89 dedicated $2 Million of the Multimodal fund for bicycle-pedestrian projects.
Municipalities, Council of Governments, businesses and non-profits are among those eligible to apply.
The guidance is here
The application is here
This fund is different than and separate from the Multimodal Transportation Fund being administered by the Commonweatlh Financing Authority.
In order to obtain continuous data on trail use in Greater Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) will be installing up 12 permanent automated bicycle and pedestrian counting stations on Circuit trails this spring. The automated counting equipment for these stations, acquired with a grant from the William Penn Foundation, will provide continuous data on bicycle and pedestrian use and will allow DVRPC to develop seasonal adjustment factors that can be used to predict annual cyclist and pedestrian traffic based on week-long counts. Given their short duration, DVRPC can perform week-long counts at a much wider variety of locations.
Each permanent counting station will consist of both a passive infrared pyro-electric unit, which will detect changes in temperature when a person passes the sensor, and an inductive loop, which will stretch across the trail surface and detect the electromagnetic signature of bicycle wheels as they pass over. The passive infrared unit sits inside a trailside post about waist high. The inductive loop is a low-profile cable attached to the surface of the trail using highly durable road tape.
Photo used with permission of EcoCounter
Update: Montgomery County has announced that the trail will be conditionally opened on the weekends of April 26-27 and May 3-4 (walk bikes through the construction zone). The trail will then be paved and re-open permanently on May 10.
Since January 27 the section of the Schuylkill River Trail between Ross St and Ford Rd in Norristown has been closed due to construction of the Lafayette Street Extension Project. Our assumption was that the trail between those two streets was closed but that access to Ross St from the trail was not affected since the County's trail closure information on their website did not mention that this access point was also severed. However we found out the hard way (from a frustrated trail user) that in fact Ross St was also closed by the construction.
The closure of Ross St entrance changes the alternate routing options dramatically; the nearest access point on the trail, Ernest Station Rd, is about two miles away by road. However, while Ernest Station Rd is not closed to traffic, it is privately owned and therefore the County determined that there was no short and safe on-road detour for the trail.
The trail was scheduled to be reopened later this month, but the unusually harsh winter has set back much of the work. We are awaiting an update from the County on a new target reopening date. Meanwhile if you are determined to ride between Philadelphia and Valley Forge (or beyond) be prepared to take the roads or use the once-per-hour SEPTA Regional Rail service between Conshohocken Station and the Norristown Transportation Center (website). Note that on April 5th and 6th train service between Conshohocken and Norristown will be replaced by bike accessible shuttle buses.
The Delaware Valley Health Council just finished a terrific webinar this afternoon for hospital personnel to learn more about how they can promote the Circuit to their patients. "Delivering health care instead of disease care." The webinar featured Tom Sexton from Rails to Trails, Elissa Garafolo from the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and Barrett Dunigan of Friends of Cynwyd Trail.
The D&L folks are partnering with St. Luke's Hospital system to put on a spring challenge "Calling All Couch Potatoes" as part of their "Get Your Tail on the Trail" progam.
The Friends of the Cynwyd Trail partnered with Lankenau Medical Center to host "Trail Tuesdays" last fall. Lankenau Hospital staff led workshops on the trail about what shoes to wear, foods to eat and how trails can make you healthy.
The Circuit Coalition invites other hospitals to become engaged with trails that are proximate to their location. Here is a map of hospitals near Circuit trails. If you are a hospital wanting to connect with a trail group, please contact Tom Sexton email@example.com or Sarah Clark Stuart firstname.lastname@example.org
Cooper’s Ferry Partnership (CFP) is hosting the Camden Night Gardens (#CNG) on Thursday April 17, 2014 from 7pm – 11pm.
The Camden Night Garden (CNG) is a one-night festival that will engage the Camden community to showcase Camden’s rich cultural history through the use of large-scale, community-based light, sound, and projection instillations. The goal of CNG is to reimagine the underutilized waterfront trail for one night by “lighting up” the area and promoting the work of local artists, musicians, restaurants and bikers. CNG facebook page is here.
We would love for your organization to be present at the Camden Night Garden in our Exhibit Space.
This is a great chance to reach out to a wide audience, including Camden residents, neighborhood groups, art lovers, bike riders and other visitors.
To secure your spot in our Exhibit Space, please email or call Sue Brennan at or (856) 757-9154.
For $35, we will provide a table, two chairs, a colorful table cover and a 10x10 tent. We want every community organization to participate in #CNG so if you cannot afford the cost, please just ask us for a fee waiver.
Sustainable Jersey is putting on three workshops to inform municipal and non-profits on how to learn more about the strategies, tools, and funding opportunities available to help your town realize the benefits of becoming a more bikeable and walkable community. NJ APA-CM credits have been requested. This training is applicable for the Safe Routes to School and Transportation Alternatives Program in the Funding Opportunities block. For more information on the topics covered, visit the Sustainbale Jersey website. To register for a workshop in New Brunswick and Camden, click on a link below:
Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 10:00 AM - NOON
Rutgers Student Center, Room 411
ABC 126 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Friday, April 4, 2014, 10:00 AM - NOON
Camden County MUA
1645 Ferry Avenue, Camden, NJ 08104
According to a Philly.com story that appeared today, Montgomery County is going to triple the Pennypack Trail by building 3.8 miles from Lorimar Park to Byberry Road and Lorimar Park to Rockledge Borough Park
The project, which is estimated to cost $1.6 million, will start this summer and take about one year to complete the entire section. It will be a gravel path, suitable for walking, running and recreational riding. It will follow the dormant Fox Chase to Newtown rail line.
With Montgomery County taking this action, one has to ask, will now Bucks County get behind buiding the trail along the rail line to Newtown?
PA's Commonwealth Financing Authority announced today two new funding opportunities for trails.
Multimodal Transportation Fund. Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development. The application deadline for the program is June 20, 2014 for consideration at the September 9, 2014 CFA board meeting. Applications can request from $100K to $3M. MMF guidance is here.
Greenway, Trails and Recreation Program. Projects which involve development, rehabilitation and improvements to public parks, recreation areas, greenways, trails and river conservation. The application deadline for the program is July 21, 2014. Applications can be for up to $250K. GTR guidance is here.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and Transportation Alternatives (TAP) Programs. The solicitation for these federally funded programs is being administered by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in partnership with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO).
For more information about the SRTS grant, see the solicitation letter here
For more information about the TAP grant, see the solicitation letter here
NJDOT’s application guidance document for the SRTS program containing the necessary information for completing an application and answering questions regarding eligibility and program requirements can be viewed here. The application guidance document for TAP can be viewed here
Applications for both SRTS and TAP are available through NJDOT’s online grant management system, SAGE (System for Administering Grants Electronically). The application deadline is May 15, 2014.
Visit NJDOT’s Local Aid and Economic Development website to learn more about both the SRTS and TAP grants.
Some key things to remember before applying -
NJDOT has heard concerns about Technical Assistance and will be providing more technical support this year. Look for an upcoming webinar, local training/workshops and a tip sheet to improve you application. NJ Safe Routes to School already has developed a TIP sheet for SRTS.
Program managers like to emphasize that both programs distribute funds for reimbursement.
DVRPC has control of about half of the TAP money allocated to the South Jersey counties in its jurisdiction and will be prioritizing these three categories:
On March 5th the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) announced a new competitive round of Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI) planning grants.
If you municpality or County is interested in applying to TCDI they have to attend a mandatory meeting next Tuesday (March 18th) at DVRPC. The pre-proposal meeting will be held 4pm-6pm, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at DVRPC Offices, 8th Floor of ACP Building, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. All attendees must RSVP for the meeting to .
A local government official (staff, elected or appointed) must represent the municipality or county. Consultants to the local governments are not considered representatives for this meeting.
To learn more about TCDI go to http://www.dvrpc.org/tcdi/
The trail world is abuzz over Monday's Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Wyoming land owners Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust. The ruling awarded ownership of a mile section of the Medicine Bow Rail Trail to the trust, whose land surrounds the trail. The case is considered to be a major blow to rail-trail development and may result in the closing of hundreds of miles of rail trails in Western United States.
While this is a very troubling development for our Western colleagues, the decision will not affect any trails on the Circuit. The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy has created this neat infographic below. The last checkpoint at the bottom should put any local fears to rest.
To find out more about the case go to www.railstotrails.org/supremecourt
The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has released a feasibility study of routing the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail through the Quakertown Area this complements a study released last Spring that analyzed connecting the PA Highlands Trail with the New Jersey segment of the Highlands Trail which is maintained by the NY/NJ Trail Conference.
Like the trail in New Jersey the PA Highlands Trail will be a combination of natural surface trails, rural roads and shared use paths. The Circuit, with a few exceptions only includes the latter, so it is fortunate that most of the trail alignments in the study strived for piecing together new and existing shared use path connections through the region's semi-rural landscape.
The study also breathes new life into the somewhat dormant Liberty Bell Trail alignment which has seen little progress since Mongtomery County published a feasibility study in 2001. Building the trail on the north end has generated a lot of buzz since the popular Saucon Rail Trail was completed to Coopersburg near the Bucks - Lehigh County Line.
The PA Highlands Trail is planned to expand west along Unami Creek to meet the Perkiomen Trail in Northern Montgomery County. Milford Township intends to complete its path network along the creek up to the Montgomery County Line. The Appalachian Mountain Club which is a Circuit Coalition partner is already working on trail planning efforts in Montgomery County.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has posted a Notice of Funding Availability for the 2014 TIGER Grant program. Applications will be accepted through Grants.gov for a period beginning on April 3rd 2014 and ending on April 28, 2014.
More information about the 2014 TIGER Program is available at http://www.dot.gov/tiger/nofa
If your eligible organization has not previoiusly registered at Grants.gov before then you need to do so before you apply for TIGER. The registration process takes about 4-6 weeks so you should be start that process immediately. http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration.html
|Mike Fusco 1957-2014|
Improvements to the Gloucester Township Bike Path, part of the Gloucester-Mt. Ephraim Trail is awaiting funding from the 2013 round of the Rec Trails Program.
Last weekend at the New Jersey Bike and Walk Summit, NJ DOT Local Aid and Economic Development Director Mike Russo and Safe Routes to School to Coordinator Elise Bremer-Nei gave a very informative presentation on the Bicycle and Pedestrian funding opportunities available for Local Public Agencies (LPA's). LPA's include Counties, Municipalities, Bridge/Transit Authorities as well as School Districts.
This presentation is very timely as NJ DOT and DVRPC are about to announce new funding rounds for 1) Transportation Alternatives/Transportation Enhancements (TAP/TE) and 2) Safe Routes To School (SRTS).
In the past TE and SRTS competitive funding rounds have been extremely popular and over subscribed. For the last round in 2012 NJDOT received TE 149 applications that requested a total of $78M. Of that $10M was awarded to 29 of those projects. This 2014 soliciatation will be $15.5M for TAP/TE and $5.6M for Safe Routes to Schools statewide.
NJDOT is working on a strategy to ensure that project sponsors get the information they need to develop good project applications and complete projects successfully. Follow this blog for announcements of upcoming training opportunities and seminars.
Almost 25 years after the closure of the Old Betzwood Bridge , the long-awaited Betzwood Bicycle/Pedestrian Trail Project has taken a step closer to fruition.
J.D. Eckman Inc. has won the construction bid that was put out back in December 5th, 2013 and Notice to Proceed with construction was issued to the contractor on February 3rd, 2014. Construction is expected to begin within the next few months.
The new bridge, which will be named Sullivan's Bridge after Revolutionary War Major General John Sullivan, will be for bicycles and pedestrians only, and is currently on track to be completed by late spring 2016. In addition to the bicycle/pedestrian trail bridge, the project includes the replacement of the Trooper Road Bridge over the Schuykill River Trail and replacement of the superstructure of the bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad Line, as well as improving the roadway and trail approaches to each of the bridges.
Pedestrian and bicycle access between Betzwood and Valley Forge was interrupted in 1991 when the Old Betzwood Bridge, which was constructed in 1777, was closed due to structural issues. The new bridge will restore an important link in The Circuit, connecting the Schuykill River Trail to the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail and providing access from communities in Montgomery County to Valley Forge National Historic Park and the many offices of the Valley Forge-King of Prussia area.
See the attached file for a diagram of the bridge project.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Northeast Regional Office is now accepting applications for the Trail Assistance Mini-Grant Program in Pennsylvania.
With funds provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, RTC is able to distribute a small amount of match funding to rail-trail projects in Pennsylvania.
Grant awards average $5,000 or less, with a maximum of $10,000. All projects require a 50 percent (of the total project cost) match from the applicant.
The application deadline for 2014 is Feb. 28, 2014, and awards will be announced March 25, 2014.
The mini-grant program managed by RTC can assist trail organizations or municipalities that need to make small repairs and improvements to their trail outside of the regular PA DCNR grant schedule, and well below the higher-dollar amounts usually requested on major grants.
Improvements completed through this program should represent added value to the trail either by increasing the existing length or by way of new construction that makes the trail more usable. Examples of likely projects include bridge decking, culverts, gates/bollards, bridge inspection, landscaping, signage, toilet facilities, trailhead improvements and way-finding signs. Purchase of a major piece of equipment may be considered.
Guidelines for the program, along with a list of projects previously funded, is available on the RTC website.
Please contact Patricia Tomes directly (717.238.1717 or ) with any questions regarding the eligibility of your project.